Grandmaster Level Strategic Planning – IM Valeri Lilov

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The Chess World


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Valeri is a great teacher. His

Valeri is a great teacher. His thinking and presentation is very clear and he gets the concepts of chess across in a way that you can see, follow and understand easily. This video is about planning, so rather than thinking what move shall I do next, you are shown how to think about where you want to be in several moves time I.e. setting short and longer term strategical goals and making plans to achieve them. So what do you do when coming towards the end of the opening. I found Valeri's explanation really helped me in my games. First assess the position for structures, weaknesses, piece placement, king safety, piece activity, piece improvement possibilities, and then formulate a plan, followed by your move sequence to get there, trying as far as it is possible to anticipate your opponents responses. Sounds tricky, but Valeri's approach really helps. He shows us how to pick and assess candidate moves by explaining what we should be asking ourselves. Very good video for intermediate/advanced players. Highly recommended.



Strategic planning is one of the most important skills a chess player can learn. It is well known that playing with a bad plan, is much better than playing with no plan at all. If you want to succeed at chess it is crucial to start coming up with a good plan. That’s where the problems come for 95% of chess players.

How do you come up with a good plan?

Books treat this issue differently. Some suggest that you have to open up the position and prepare an attack. Others advocate finding a target in opponent’s camp. Third advice on improving the position until the attacking possibility comes around. These suggestions are great… but difficult to follow in a real game.

How do you come up with a good plan?

  • How to open up the position?
  • Where to find a good target?
  • How to know when and where to attack?

In other words this type of thinking does not work for a practical chess player. You need something concrete, which can be used even under pressure. IM Lilov recommends an approach of “gradual improvement” used by many strong GMs. He backs up his ideas with concrete examples from GM games so that you could understand the method and follow the correct thinking process.

What to do when you’re in a bad position?

Indeed it is not the most pleasant thing in the world to play. But it is inevitable. In about 30% of our games (or even more) we will be in serious trouble. We have to learn to deal with disadvantages, and it is not simple. In this course you will learn how to approach a losing position, so that you can perform at your best and improve your fighting chances.


CHAPTER 1 -Post Opening Strategy
+ How to prepare a successful attack?
+ What squares and maneuvers are the key?
+ How to identify critical moments of the game?
+ How to find necessary resources to sustain the attack?
CHAPTER 2 – How to avoid premature attacks?
+ How to decide what type of attack to execute and when to get started?
+ What to keep in mind in order to stay away from premature attacks?
+ What to keep in mind when you opponent launches a premature attack?
+ How to quickly exploit a premature attack?
CHAPTER 3 – Planning and Improvement
+ What to do out of the opening?
+ How to come up with a good plan?
+ What approach to use to make the right decision when it matters?
+ How to come up with the right strategy?
+ How to improve your chess pieces?
+ How to use the idea of “squeezing” to win games?
CHAPTER 4 – Move Candidates and Alternatives
+ How to find the best candidate moves?
+ How to find weaknesses and create threats?
+ How to gain activity and start the attack?
+ How to use forcing, reinforcing and restrictive moves to get an upper hand?
+ How to connect the candidate moves with an overall plan?
+ How to use restricting moves?
CHAPTER 5 – Move Candidates in the Middlegame
+ What is the exact methodology for finding candidate moves?
+ What can you do in short time control games?
+ What type of questions to ask yourself when you are looking for a strong move?
+ How to evaluate the move correctly?
+ What do you need to know about committal moves?
CHAPTER 6 – Defending Bad Positions
+ What makes bad positions “bad”?
+ How to stabilize or counter in bad positions?
+ How to find the “minimum” solution?
+ How to take over the initiative when defending?
CHAPTER 7 – Studying Master’s Games
+ How to study master games and how to practice them?
+ How to identify critical moments of the game?
+ What is the best way to learn from master games?

Additional information

Running Time

3 hours



Type of Video

Production House